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Westside Medical Imaging Uses High Resolution Magnetic Imaging to Monitor Effects of Cholesterol Drugs on Atherosclerosis
Date:11/9/2011

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Nov. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Westside Medical Imaging of Beverly Hills announces the availability of High Resolution Magnetic Resonance Imaging with a 3 Tesla magnet to monitor the effects of cholesterol drugs on atherosclerosis.

Drs.Norman Lepor, Hooman Madyoon and Michael Duffy of Westside Medical Associates of Los Angeles (WMALA) have adopted 3 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) using specialized vascular coils to monitor how well cholesterol drugs are working by following carotid plaque volume and morphology. According to Dr. Lepor who has reviewed this issue for the upcoming edition of Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine, "MRI of plaques with a 3 Tesla magnet represents a pivotal development in vascular medicine. It enhances our capability to identify atherosclerotic plaques with a greater degree of sensitivity then carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) and follow the effects of medical treatments with more accuracy."

Binh Phan, MD, coauthor of this study found that intensive treatment with cholesterol drugs reduced the amount of cholesterol in artery-clogging plaque in 120 patients who were randomly assigned to receive one of three cholesterol treatments: Lipitor; Lipitor plus Niaspan; or Lipitor plus Niaspan and colesevelam. After three years, the volume of cholesterol decreased from 60.4 cubic mm2 to 37.4 mm2, and the percentage of plaque volume consisting of cholesterol decreased from 14.2% to 7.4%.  

According to Dr. Madyoon, "because atherosclerosis occurs in blood vessels throughout the body, plaque buildup in carotid arteries is a good surrogate marker for build up in the coronary arteries indicating a higher risk of heart attack and stroke." Men over the age of 40 years and women as they approach menopause with a history of hypertension, elevated cholesterol, diabetes, smoking history or family history of heart disease should consider this exam.

These findings confirmed the theory that cholesterol medications lead to plaque regression by lowering cholesterol levels. According to Dr. Lepor, "this MRI technology will also allow physicians to individualize cholesterol therapy rather then treat everyone the same." According to Dr. Duffy, "one of the key advantages of this technology is that you can assess the carotid arteries for plaque progression or regression serially over time since it does not expose the patient to any ionizing radiation."

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SOURCE Westside Medical Imaging
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